Published: September 4, 2015
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — From the New-York Historical Society’s extraordinary trove of more than 2,000 folk art objects acquired by the avant-garde sculptor Elie Nadelman (1882–1946) and his wife, Viola Spiess Flannery Nadelman (1878–1962), the Albuquerque Museum will open “Making it Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman” on September 5. On view through November 29, as the first major examination of the Nadelmans’ seminal role in folk art collecting, this exhibition will make a significant contribution to the field of folk art studies. The Albuquerque Museum will be the first venue to host this groundbreaking exhibition.
Elie Nadelman is widely recognized for his elegant, Modernist sculpture. Less familiar is his pioneering folk art collection. Influenced by the “peasant arts” of his native Poland and other European countries, Nadelman began his American career after immigrating to New York City in 1914. Following his marriage to Viola Flannery in 1919, the sculptor and his wealthy wife began an all-consuming collecting odyssey. From 1926 until 1937, the Nadelmans presented their 70,000-object collection in their Museum of Folk and Peasant Arts in Riverdale, N.Y. But in 1937, as a result of difficulties caused by the Great Depression, they sold 15,000 of their best examples of folk art to the New-York Historical Society.
“The 15,000-some objects collected by artist Elie Nadelman and his wife Viola comprised the first public folk art collection formed in the United States, as well as the first ever to consider the European roots of American folk art,” said New-York Historical Society’s vice president, museum director and co-curator Margaret K. Hofer. Co-curator Roberta J.M. Olson said, “We hope that visitors will leave the exhibition with profound new insights into the intersection of folk art and Modernism, the Nadelmans’ enduri ng influence on the history of American art collecting, and the relationship between American and European folk art.”
Several programs will be offered in conjunction with the Nadelman exhibition. Hofer will give lecture on September 12 at 1 pm; there will be a gallery talk at 11 am on October 7 by curator of history Deb Slaney; and a Third Thursday event featuring a talk on folk art in New Mexico will be on October 15, 5 to 8 pm.
The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is a division of the Cultural Services Department, City of Albuquerque, and is at 2000 Mountain Road NW.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm